It’s worrying when carmakers start boasting about their new model having ‘grown up’.

What they normally mean is that it’s bulkier, heavier and decidedly less fun than the car it replaced. So you can imagine the alarm bells that started tolling when Honda boasted about its new more refined, grown-up Civic Type R.

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But it certainly hasn’t gone soft. If anything, the Japanese brand is overplaying its hand because although the new hot hatch is certainly more refined and comfortable than its predecessor, it’s still at the banzai end of the hatchback scene.

It’s a real shame it doesn’t look more dramatic, even if the understated looks mean the Type R escapes the boy-racer tag and accompanying attention that greets something like the Vauxhall Astra VXR. It’s tricky to pick out the three-door only Type R from its mainstream Type S sibling, with bigger front and rear spoilers the only major external indicators.

There is an entry-level £17,600 Type R but business drivers will all be among the 80% of buyers picking the GT trim for an extra £1000. Amazingly, Honda isn’t fitting aircon to the base model, however the GT gets dual-zone climate control along with cruise control, auto headlights and a few other bits and pieces.

On the road, the Type R is certainly no softie, with a harsh ride that lets you know about every rut and bump. The well-weighted steering combines nicely with great body control to make for enjoyable runs down quiet B-roads, while Honda’s VVTi technology sees peak power arrive at a huge 7800rpm, perfect for dispatching slower-moving traffic.

The engine is a development of the last generation Type R’s, with Honda declining to join the power race currently led by the Mazda 3 MPS’s 260PS. But that doesn’t mean it’s slow, still despatching the 0-62mph trip in 6.6 seconds on the way to 146mph.

While Civic Type R is certainly on the perk car-side of the business car fence, there are sound business cases backing it up. The lower P11D, decent spec, huge boot and reasonable 315g/km all help it towards a cost per mile figure of 31.5pence per mile, significantly better than rivals such as the Golf GTi, Focus ST, Astra VXR or five-door only Seat Leon Cupra. That’s mainly down to an impressive RV prediction, with experts Cap reckoning on it holding 50% of its value after three years/60,000miles.

So there are business reasons for picking the Civic Type-R as a business car, but to be honest they’re just an excuse to justify what is a great, if still uncompromising, hatchback.